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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

PIRG Commends Supporters of Duckworth Amendment to Protect Our Troops From High-Cost Loans

Last night, on a 32-30 bipartisan vote, the House Armed Services Committee supported the Tammy Duckworth (IL) amendment to strike language from the National Defense Authorization Act that would have delayed Pentagon-proposed improvements to the Military Lending Act of 2007. It's a critical victory for servicemembers, veterans and their families, although the fight to protect our troops from high-cost loans will continue.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

U.S. House Considers Delay To Financial Protections for Servicemembers, Veterans | Ed Mierzwinski

(UPDATED 30 April): Last year the Department of Defense proposed needed improvements to the 2007 Military Lending Act, since high-cost lenders were exploiting loopholes to evade the law's 36% APR cap on loans to servicemembers to make loans at 400% APR or more, harming military families and threatening unit preparedness to defend the nation. Now, days before a committee vote, predatory lenders have succeeded in convincing House Armed Services Committee leaders to insert language into the National Defense Authorization Act that would delay the DoD regulations up to a year while needless, redundant studies are prepared. Only in Washington.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

PIRG Commends Release of Labor Dept.'s Proposed Rule To End Conflicted Retirement Advice

PIRG today commended the public release of the Department of Labor’s proposed rule that would strengthen the ability for Americans to save for retirement by addressing conflicts of interest that arise when brokers and financial advisers give retirement advice. Wall Street will fight the rule hard, because it requires them to put consumers first.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

CFPB Begins Payday Regulation Push In Richmond | Ed Mierzwinski

We joined the CFPB in Richmond Thursday for a field hearing on a proposed rule to regulate payday lending and similar high-cost short-term loans. The CFPB's draft rule is comprehensive, covering a variety of loans, but it contains potential loopholes that we and other advocates will urge the bureau to close before it finalizes this important effort. Here's a short blog with some photos from Richmond.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Some Good, Some Bad in Obama Administration Plan to Protect Antibiotics | Sujatha Jahagirdar

Today, the National Task Force for Combatting Resistant Bacteria released a five-year action plan to tackle the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.  While the plan will take several important steps necessary to control the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, it will miss the opportunity to call for critical reforms in the agricultural sector that are essential to protect public health.

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News Release | NJPIRG | Budget, Tax

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average NJ Taxpayer $1,260 a Year, NJ Small Business $3,941

With Tax Day approaching, it’s a good time to be reminded of where our tax dollars are going. NJPIRG and NJ Citizen Action were joined today by Senator Robert Menendez, Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ-6), Mayor Ed Johnson of Asbury Park, and Jerome Beckman, owner of Beckman’s Newsstands, to release a new NJPIRG study on offshore tax dodging. The report revealed that the average New Jersey taxpayer in 2012 would have to shoulder an extra $1,260 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost due to the use of offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals.

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News Release | NJPIRG | Democracy

Essex County Takes Stand Against Unlimited Special Interest Spending in Elections

On Wednesday, 3/27, the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders adopted a resolution calling on Congress to stop the unprecedented flow of special interest money into elections. The Freeholders urged Congress to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which allowed unlimited corporate spending in elections.

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News Release | NJPIRG Law & Policy Center | Budget, Tax

New Jersey Receives a "C" in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

New Jersey received a “C” when it comes to government spending transparency, according to the fourth annual report of its kind by the NJPIRG Law & Policy Center.

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News Release | NJPIRG | Budget, Tax

Senate Budget Debate Shows Bipartisan Support for Closing Offshore Tax Loopholes

A bipartisan group of senators agree that closing offshore tax loopholes, which allow large profitable companies to dodge billions in taxes, needs to be part of the budget. We applaud Sens. Levin (D-MI), McCain (R-AZ), and Whitehouse (D-RI) for proposing an amendment to the budget resolution that gives budget writers the authority to ‘end offshore tax abuses used by large corporations.’

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News Release | NJPIRG Law & Policy Center | Budget, Tax

Offshore Tax Dodging Saps $2.8 Billion from New Jersey’s Budget

NJPIRG, New Jersey Citizen Action, and the New Jersey Main Street Alliance came together at a Jersey City small business on 2/6/2013 to discuss a new NJPIRG study revealing that New Jersey lost $2.8 billion in state revenue due to offshore tax dodging in 2012.

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Report | NJPIRG Law & Policy Center | Budget, Tax

Following the Money 2012

New Jersey scores a C+ in the 2010 report on online access to government spending data.

 

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Report | Democracy

Auctioning Democracy

A new report by NJPIRG Law and Policy Center and Demos shows an analysis of the funding sources for the campaign finance behemoths, Super PACs. The findings confirmed what many have predicted in the wake of the Supreme Court’s damaging Citizens United decision: since their inception in 2010, Super PACs have been primarily funded by a small segment of very wealthy individuals and business interests, with a small but significant amount of funds coming from secret sources.

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Report | NJPIRG Law and Policy Center | Safe Energy

Too Close to Home

In the United States, 49 million Americans receive their drinking water from surface sources located within 50 miles of an active nuclear power plant – inside the boundary the Nuclear Regulatory Commission uses to assess risk to food and water supplies. 

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Report | NJPIRG Law and Policy Center | Democracy, Tax

Representation Without Taxation

Marking the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission case, this report takes a hard look at the lobbying activities of profitable Fortune 500 companies that exploit loopholes and distort the tax code to avoid billions of dollars in taxes.

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Report | NJPIRG Law and Policy Center | Consumer Protection

Trouble in Toyland

The 2011 Trouble in Toyland report is our 26th annual survey of toy safety. In this report, we provide safety guidelines for consumers when purchasing toys for young children and provide examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards.

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Blog Post | Democracy

Making Super PACs Illegal | Gideon Weissman

Polling shows that almost 7 out of 10 voters believe that super PACs, the independent expenditure only committees created in the wake of the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United decision, should be illegal. Unfortunately, due to the Court’s backwards interpretation of the first amendment, we cannot legislate away super PACs today. However, there are some very important steps that every level of government – from your city council to the White House - should take right now to mitigate the impact of super PACs before the 2012 election.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

Today, CFPB to announce overdraft fee investigation, unveil "penalty box" disclosure, possibly end $39 lattes.Ed MierzwinskiGideon Weissman

At a news conference in NYC today, Director Richard Cordray of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will announce a major investigation of bank overdraft fee practices and propose a model "penalty box" disclosure to appear on bank statements. The investigation could end the $39 latte-- $4 bucks for the coffee, $35 for the debit card overdraft fee.

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Blog Post | Democracy

Proposal for the State Investment Council of New Jersey | Gideon Weissman

Proposal presented to the State Investment Council of New Jersey on January 26th, 2012: The New Jersey Investment Council should institute a formal policy of supporting shareholder proxy votes that increase disclosure of political contributions.  

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Blog Post | Budget

Problems With Privatized Law Enforcement's New Frontier

One in five Americans lives in a jurisdiction that outsources traffic ticketing this way, according to a newly released report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, titled "Caution: Red Light Cameras Ahead; The Risks of Privatizing Traffic Law Enforcement and How to Protect the Public." And a report released by the Justice Department suggests this trend may accelerate under the twin pressures of budget pressure and intense lobbying.

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Blog Post | Ed's Blog

To lessen online banking risks, lessen consumer liability risks | Ed Mierzwinski

In addition to a story on the Zappos' hack, the New York Times also has an editorial "Convenient, but How Secure?" on the growth of online banking and new regulations being implemented that should lessen fraud loss risk.

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